Matthew Cuthbert Is Surprised
Matthew Cuthbert drives to the railway station at Bright River to pick up the expected boy orphan. No boy is waiting, though; just Anne Shirley, an eleven-year-old orphan who is hoping for a home.
Matthew Cuthbert and the sorrel mare jogged comfortably over the eight miles to Bright River [and the railway station]. It was a pretty road, running along between snug farmsteads, with now and again a bit of balsamy fir wood to drive through or a hollow where wild plums hung out their filmy bloom.
When he reached Bright River there was no sign of any train; he thought he was too early, so he tied his horse in the yard of the small Bright River hotel and went over to the station-house. The long platform was almost deserted; the only living creature in sight being a girl who was sitting on a pile of shingles at the extreme end. Matthew, barely noting that it was a girl, sidled past her as quickly as possible without looking at her. Had he looked he could hardly have failed to notice the tense rigidity and expectation of her attitude and expression. She was sitting there waiting for something or somebody and, since sitting and waiting was the only thing to do just then, she sat and waited with all her might and main.
Matthew encountered the station-master locking up the ticket-office preparatory to going home for supper, and asked him if the five-thirty train would soon be along.
“The five-thirty train has been in and gone half an hour ago,” answered that brisk official. “But there was a passenger dropped off for you—a little girl. She’s sitting out there on the shingles. I asked her to go into the ladies’ waiting-room, but she informed me gravely that she preferred to stay outside. ‘There was more scope for imagination,’ she said. She’s a case, I should say.”
“I’m not expecting a girl,” said Matthew blankly. “It’s a boy I’ve come for. He should be here. Mrs. Alexander Spencer was to bring him over from Nova Scotia for me.”
The station-master whistled.
“Guess there’s some mistake,” he said. “Mrs. Spencer came off the train with that girl and gave her into my charge. Said you and your sister were adopting her from an orphan asylum and that you would be along for her presently. That’s all I know about it – and I haven’t got any more orphans concealed hereabouts.” (14-15)
From L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, L. C. Page, 1908.
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